opportunities for growth

Me peeling off Desert Shield.

Micah getting all introspective on a high-ball in the Hall of Horrors Area.

Another personal growth opportunity on Shakin’ Hands With the Unemployed.

Justin on Satanic Mechanic.

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” – Chuck Palahniuk

Tyler Durden would crank at Joshua Tree. Don’t think it takes some kind of supreme discipline to put your mind in a place where climbing dangerous routes makes sense. Joshua Tree’s climb-or-die style can only be mastered by a total dumbass. Forget about everything – your health, the plants at home that need water, the cats and/or dogs that need to be fed, medical bills – and just climb. Be that amoeba, that single-celled, singularly focused creature put here to do one lame thing: to climb this rock in front of you. Maybe then this trip to California’s high desert will be therapeutic instead of traumatic.


There are consequences to falling at Joshua Tree, and the technique needed to scurry up her insecure slabs is no forté of mine. I fully expect my money’s worth for developing this skill. Clearly the park rangers never tire of scraping human sacrifices off the desert floor – they’ve permitted bolting yet banned electric drills. My final opinion on this rationale is yet unformed, but I will say: those who excel at this style of climbing are truly men. Unless they’re women. Now I’m confused about strong women and gay men and how they would fit in to that.


  1. So how’s the top of Desert Shield these days? Last time I was there it seemed like stuff had broken off and it was the crux. When I first did this route, the crux was pretty low. Can’t say I’m really missing Josh all that much.

  2. I won’t say the crux is low. It’s consistently hard, I feel. The bottom’s no issue cuz I’m fresh and plenty strong for the moves, but the high middle is thin and balancey – really hard for me to get through on redpoint, which I have yet to do. It changes somewhat, from powerful to delicate to powerful again, improving in movement quality as you go up, in my opinion anyway. To finish off this bastard will represent an improvement in my tick-list diversity, as these Joshua Tree crimp-athons are like shark repellent to me. No question though, that Desert Shield is a brilliant route.

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